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Alan McManus announces retirement from competitive snooker

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McManus produces a vintage comeback (credit:Richard Sellers/PA Images)

Former Masters champion McManus has called time on his 31-year playing career

Alan McManus has announced his retirement from professional snooker with immediate effect following his elimination from the 2021 World Championship.

The Scottish stalwart brought the curtain down on a 31-year playing career after his 6-3 defeat by Chinese teenager Bai Langning in the second qualifying round on Friday.

McManus had endured a difficult season on the tour with his failure to progress beyond the last 64 of any ranking event resulting in him slipping to 59th in the world rankings.

The 50-year-old’s early exit at the English Institute of Sport would likely have culminated in relegation from the tour had he not chosen to call time on a professional career spanning over three decades.

Nicknamed ‘Angles’ for his incredible knowledge of the game, the highlight of his career came in 1994, when he recovered from 7-5 down to edge out Stephen Hendry 9-8 in the Masters final – ending his opponent’s 23-match unbeaten streak in the event while denying him a sixth consecutive title.

McManus was also a two-time ranking event winner – triumphing at the 1994 Dubai Classic and 1996 Thailand Open – while he was ranked in the world’s top 16 for 15 consecutive seasons between 1991 and 2006.

Arguably past his peak, the Scotsman rolled back the years in 2016 to reach his third World Championship semi-final – having also reached that stage in 1992 and 1993 – beating Stephen Maguire, Ali Carter and John Higgins, before eventually succumbing to an inspired Ding Junhui.

In recent years, McManus has also gained widespread recognition as a television pundit and commentator, with his passionate insight and observations making him one of the most popular analysts on the circuit.

And he will turn his full attention to the studio after hanging up his cue; a decision he revealed had long been in the pipeline.

“I made the decision before Christmas for quite a lot of reasons,” McManus told WST.

“Through COVID, this year’s been pretty tough. I’m working (as a pundit) as well as playing tournaments, and it takes its toll. It’s just been really difficult doing both.

“The big problem during COVID times is that I’ve literally not been able to play. 

“I’ve played about 10 days on my own table in the last calendar year, so that’s just not enough. It annoys me that I can’t get on and do my work or graft. I wasn’t prepared to continue in that vein where I couldn’t play.

“I’m 50 as well; I always thought that 50’s a good number (to bow out). It’s a young guy’s game now; you’ve got to face up to that. 

“I’ll miss playing, of course, but I’m not a guy to worry too much about that. 

“I’m happy with it (my decision); I’m really content.”